TILTON – It started as a backup plan on a whim, and ended in a record-breaking championship.
“At the beginning of the season, I sprained my ankle, so I couldn’t do the 100 hurdles, so I was playing around with what I could do,” Bow junior Dominique Biron said. “I did the long jump for the heptathlon, so I thought that would be a good thing to practice, and it went pretty well when I did it at the meets, so I thought it would just be a fun thing to do at states, a little change.”
That fun little change turned into a 17-10 jump at Saturday’s Division III Track and Field Championships, breaking the old D-III record by five inches. It was one of three titles on the day for Biron, who also won the high jump (5-3, one inch away from tying the D-III record that she did tie last year) and the 300-meter hurdles. Biron also took third in the 100 as she led the Falcons to a third-place team finish with 59 points, putting the Falcons behind White Mountains (70) and Monadnock (85), which claimed its fifth straight title.
“It was a great day,” Bow Coach Jon Uhouse said, “and some amazing individual efforts.”
Biron – who won the 100, 200 and high jump and finished second in the 300 hurdles last year – qualified for the long jump with a distance of 16-04.25. So she was as surprised as anybody when she reached 17-10 in the pit at Winnisquam High School.
“(The official) said it, and I was like ‘no, that’s not real, he must have meant 16-10,’ and that’s still a really good, I’ll take it,” Biron said. “But he said it, 17-10 , and I was like, no. That’s sick. I had zero expectations and then I got that. It was insane.”
She’s right about it being a little insane. The second-place finisher, Conant’s Abigail Drew, jumped 15-11.5. The D-II champion went 16-07.75 and the D-I champ finished at 17-02.5.
After jumping for length, Biron switched her focus to height, and defended her high jump title with a mark of 5-3, well ahead of runner-up Merceidiz Diaz of Campbell (4-10). Biron made three attempts at 5-5 and the D-III record, in between qualifying for the 100, but brushed the bar down each time.
The 100 finals yielded a third-place finish for Biron with Monadnock’s Claire Russell taking first, but the Bow junior turned that to her advantage in the 300 hurdles, where her 45.84-second finish beat out Russell’s time of 46.78.
“Claire Russell is amazing, but after she beat me in the 100, I decided that I was not gong to let her beat me in the 300 hurdles, and she pushed me the whole way,” Biron said. “There’s no way I could have done that if she wasn’t out there.”
Bow also got a second-place result from its 4x100 relay team of Saara Bliss, Jenny Ess, Laura Hoeker and Malena Lafreniere. Hoeker also took third in the pole vault and Lafreniere was fourth in the 100.
Gilford got big points from its relays and from junior Laura Dean to finish fourth as a team with 48 points. Dean finished first in the 400 (1:01.59) and was part of the winning 4x100 relay with Natalie Fraser, Laurel Gingrish and Brianna Fraser, and part of the winning 4x400 relay team with Aria Stephan, Natalie Fraser and Kaitlyn Callahan.
Marina Baer also brought some hardware back to Gilford as she finished first in the javelin with a distance of 121-00, easily beating out runner-up Taylor Banish from Conant (97-03).
Freshman Emma Wheeler led Inter-Lakes to 38 points and sixth place. She lived up to her top seed in the triple jump and claimed the title with a distance of 33-03, finishing just ahead of teammate Kaitlyn Gable (second with 32-08). Wheeler also took second in the 100 hurdles, third in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the long jump.
“She exceeded expectations,” Lakers Coach George Frost said of Wheeler, “and that triple jump was unbelievable.”
Belmont also had a young athlete rise to the pressure of a state meet and a top seed. Sophomore Alice Riley came into the day as the heavy favorite to win the 3,200 and she did just that, finished in 11:54.58, more than 15 seconds ahead of the nearest competition. Riley was also third in the 1,600.
Belmont, which finished seventh with 32 points, got first-place points and a school record from the 4x800 team of Alexus Day, Emma Chase, Jessica Hutchinson and Jasmine Syed.
Kearsarge got a championship from a freshman, too, as Mya Dube won the 1,600 in 5:23.63.
“For being a freshman she is really mature on how to run the race already,” Kearsarge Coach Ed Rehor said, “which really impresses all the coaches.”
The Cougars also picked up some points in the relays and finished eighth with 21 points.